Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc.

Just the Facts - Key Economic and Social Indicators for New York State

The Ten Largest States:
How Does New York Stack Up?

Most of the tables in this booklet compare New York to all of the other 49 states. This first section takes a more targeted view: How does our job growth, and how do other important indicators, compare to our main competitor states in particular?

From September 1999 through September 2000, New York ranked 10th among all the states for private-sector job growth. Our performance compared to the other largest states, presented below, shows a ranking in the middle of the pack. We produced new jobs at a significantly better rate than all of the other northern, industrialized states. At the same time, we remained behind four of the other largest states.

A more complete look at our 1999-2000 job growth, relative to the rest of the nation, appears as Table 1 of this report. (The September 2000 data were the latest official figures available as of presstime.)


Private-Sector Job Growth
10 Largest States, June 1999-June 2000
Rank State Amt.   Rank State Amt.
1 Florida 4.6%   7 Michigan 0.9%
2 California 2.9%   8 Illinois 0.5%
3 Texas 2.7%   9 Ohio 0.5%
4 Georgia 2.5%   10 Pennsylvania 0.0%
5 NEW YORK 2.2%    
6 New Jersey 1.7%   Avg., other 9 states 2.1%
Public Policy Institute calculations from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Manufacturing: A Key Sector
Job Losses Continue, but at a Slower Pace

For more than a century, manufacturing has been a key player in New York's economy. It remains so today, especially Upstate, even after huge job losses in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Factory and related jobs are held by some 880,000 New Yorkers, and such jobs are the lifeblood of many communities. Only the state's financial sector rivals manufacturing as a magnet that attracts wealth from around the country, and around the world.

From mid-1999 through mid-2000, the state shed about 10,000 manufacturing jobs. That was better than the record of most of the past decade; in some years in the early 1990s, the state lost 30,000 or more industrial positions. But 15 states managed to add manufacturing employment during the year, as shown in Table 2.

New York State's performance for the period was behind most of the other largest states, as shown below. Announcements of major new capital investments in the Hudson Valley, the Rochester area and elsewhere during 2000 may produce improved employment numbers in 2001.

Change in Manufacturing Employment
10 Largest States, September 1999-September 2000
Rank State Amt.   Rank State Amt.
1 Florida 0.6%   7 Ohio 1.0%
2 Georgia 0.5%   8 New York -1.2%
3 Texas 0.3%   9 New Jersey -1.8%
4 Pennsylvania 0.3%   10 Michigan -1.8%
5 California -0.2%      
6 Illinois -0.7%   Avg., other 9 states -0.5%
Public Policy Institute calculations from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data


Average Annual Pay
A Measure of Job Quality

In addition to the number of jobs available, the quality of those jobs is important. One relevant measure is average annual pay, a figure the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles from reports submitted by employers that are subject to state and federal unemployment insurance laws (the majority of employers are covered).

Pay differences among areas reflect the varying composition of employment by occupation, industry and hours of work, as well as local costs of living and other factors. The $52,351 average figure for New York City was second-highest among all the 316 metropolitan areas in the country for 1999. Most other metropolitan areas in New York State had average pay levels below the national average for all metro areas.

The highest-ranked metro area in the country was San Jose, the hub of Silicon Valley, with average pay of $61,110. That figure shows the value of attracting high-tech employers and others whose jobs require high skill levels. Most manufacturing companies today, for instance, provide high-skill and high-wage jobs.

Average Annual Pay
New York State Metropolitan Areas 1999
Rank Amt.   Rank Amt.
Albany-Sch'dy-Troy $31,901   Nassau-Suffolk $36,944
Binghamton 29,167   New York City 52,351
Buffalo-Niagara Falls 30,487   Newburgh,NY-PA 27,671
Dutchess County 35,256   Rochester 32,588
Elmira 26,603   Syracuse 30,423
Glens Falls 26,140   Utica-Rome 25,881
Jamestown 24,813   US metro area avg. $34,868
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics data

State and Local Taxes
Costs are High in New York

As the business world grows even more competitive, New York's business climate becomes an even greater factor in our economic strength. Economic developers and business owners, in this state and elsewhere, say taxes are one of the most important elements of any state's business climate. The table below shows how our overall tax burden compares to those of our key competitors. Our "tax gap," or the difference between New York's taxes and those elsewhere, has shrunk noticeably in recent years; in 1992, it was fully 62 percent above average. But the extra cost for businesses and individuals in New York is still large; taxes here are more than half again as heavy as those in other states.

Benchmarking our taxes against those of other states is more than a study in competitiveness. Why is government so expensive in the Empire State? Few would argue that public services in states such as Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania or Georgia are grossly inferior to New York's. Yet the public sector is much less costly in those areas.

Estimated State and Local Taxes Per Capita,
10 Largest States 2000
Rank State Amt.   Rank State Amt.
1 NEW YORK $4,905   7 Michigan $3,036
2 New Jersey 4,319   8 Georgia 2,975
3 California 3,523   9 Florida 2,931
4 Illinois 3,340   10 Texas 2,643
5 Ohio 3,231   Avg., other 9 states
6 Pennsylvania 3,149   NYS % above avg.
Source: Tax Foundation


Property Taxes
A Major Competitive Problem

Our local taxes are more out of line with those in other states than are the taxes imposed by Albany. And the biggest single part of our local taxes is the property tax, which totals some $25 billion on businesses and homeowners statewide. Property taxes in New York are $580 per capita above those in our neighboring state of Pennsylvania, and far above those in almost every other state.

School property taxes account for some 58% of the total in New York State, while those imposed by cities add up to 16%, and county property taxes 14%. The STAR program created by Governor Pataki and the Legislature relieves some of the burden for homeowners, but not for businesses.

High spending by local governments and schools, which drives local taxes so high, is partly the result of decisions local officials make. It's also, in large part, the result of costly mandates imposed by state officials in Albany.

For a look at how our property taxes compare to those of all other states, see Table 25.

Property Taxes Per Capita
10 Largest States 1997
Rank State Amt.   Rank State Amt.
1 New Jersey $1,587   7 Pennsylvania $750
2 NEW YORK $1,330   8 Ohio 745
3 Illinois 1,075   9 California 720
4 Texas 845   10 George 661
5 Florida 840   Avg., other 9 states
6 Michigan 788   NYS % above avg.
Public Policy Institute calculations from US Census Bureau data